Tagged With toys

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Babies. You buy them nappies, but they decide to pee on you during changing time. You make them gourmet pureed meals, but they're most satisfied gnawing on their boogers. You give them beautiful toys, but all they want to play with is the TV remote.

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When asked to name a popular toyline from the '80s, most people will plump for He-Man, Transformers or Cabbage Patch Kids. Very few would mention M.U.S.C.L.E (AKA 'Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere'). It's the toy fad that time forgot.

Originally from Japan, these bubblegum pink, lycra-clad action figures enjoyed a brief popularity boom in the mid 1980s. They combined everything kids from that era loved - monsters, robots, superheroes and wrestlers - distilled into the size of a pinkie finger.

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Kids are born innovators. Any parent who’s caught their child building pyramids out of restaurant creamer cups knows this. KiwiCo helps them channel their creativity with monthly subscription boxes of STEAM-focused activities — with these hands-on kits, little makers might build an arcade claw, design their own pinball game, or create a paint pendulum. The company was founded by Sandra Oh Lin, a mother of three in California. We asked her how she parents.

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US Build-A-Bear stores recently put on a Pay Your Age event, promising customers they could pay their age for just about any stuffed animal in the store. That meant if your kid is three, she could have snagged a furry friend for three bucks. What could go wrong, right? It’s only every child’s dream to bring home their very own snuggle buddy from the famed toy chain. (As a parent of a five year old, I’ve at times wondered if I should find an alternate route at the mall when I’m in a hurry so that my child won’t stop in front of the store and beg, “Pleeeeeeeease, Mum, can we go in?”)

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Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and author of the New York Times bestselling book, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag ... And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha. Her flagship column, “Ask a Clean Person”, debuted in 2011. Here on Lifehacker, we’ve launched a new iteration of it, focusing on parenting and all the messes it brings. 

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In her new book The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids, architecture critic Alexandra Lange explains that since the dawn of the mass-produced toy industry, there have been Good Toys and Bad Toys in the eyes of adults.

"The Bad Toy is one that just sits there, to be mashed and pulled in a set sequence, and is ruined once it falls apart," she writes. "The Good Toy lets children stitch their own world back together, using the simplest of physical parts to conjure cities of imagination."

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It's that time of the year when folks who plan ahead are looking at the toy sales and planning their Christmas shopping, upcoming birthdays and other occasions can take advantage of some great toy sales. Many retailers are having sales so it's good time to check out what's available and to save a few bucks.

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I appreciate the many storage bins, baskets and chests that have contained my kid's avalanche of toys. They're pretty - we have a few woven ombré ones. They're huge. And best of all, I've been able to toss things in there at a rapid-fire pace before guests arrive, and have my house instantly look like it's straight from the pages of an IKEA catalogue - or at least like Fisher Price did not just throw up in it. My continual solution for getting rid of clutter has been to buy more beautiful bins. And now I realise that these containers have got to go.

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Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and author of the New York Times bestselling book, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag ... And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha. Her flagship column, "Ask a Clean Person", debuted in 2011. Here on Lifehacker, we're launching a new iteration of it, focusing on parenting and all the messes it brings. 

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"Please help me find a replacement for a lost 'best friend'," a person who goes by piper2010cameron wrote in an online post. "I have searched everywhere." The description of the missing companion: A tiny stuffed tiger with orange and black stripes, a small triangular nose, and a fuzzy white belly. And then there came this heartbreaking line: "My poor kiddo has been asking why 'Itsy Bitsy' hasn't come home and it kills me."

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The PlayStation 4 just released a firmware update (5.50) that brought a ton of great features, such as comprehensive parental controls. Here's how you can set age restrictions for certain types of games and movies, set spending limits in the PlayStation Store, and regulate game time each day using the new Family Management feature.

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It's a heartwarming idea to bring out that beloved old bin of LEGO you played with as a child and hand it down to your kids so they can experience the same magic. But it's probably safer to find a newer set. Scientists in England tested 200 used plastic toys for nine hazardous elements, and found that ten per cent contained traces of all of them.

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My friend Karen says her son Christopher's devotion to garbage trucks began when he was around 18 months old. He would go nuts whenever he saw one. Karen tried to turn his attention to toy trains since that's what they had in the house, but he wouldn't have it. Garbage trucks. That was it.

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In a new study by researchers at the University of Toledo, toddlers who were given fewer toys played more creatively and were more engaged in their play than those who had many toys available. Mums and dads, this might be the time to remove that chicken robot, mustache plushie, emoji bingo set, and Spider-Man drone from your Amazon shopping cart. I'm sorry.

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You finally snagged the toy that's been on the top of your kid's Christmas wishlist for months - now you just have to wrap it up, shove it under the tree, and bask in parental pride. ("Fine work, me. Fine work.") Well, wait. Is the toy difficult to assemble? Because nothing quite dampens the giddy thrill of watching your kid rip open a gift only to open the box and learn that you must get through 57 indestructible plastic ties, follow 17 pages of wordless instructions, insert 12 batteries that you don't have (and now the stores are all closed), and wait five hours for some software to install. ("Here's a... um... pretty bow to play with, honey. This is going to take a while.")